Posted on / by VanessaDavey / in All Blog Posts, Great Managers

Set your people up for success – clarify what you expect from them.

Smart managers know that taking 100% accountability for the performance of their team just makes good business sense.

From this stand point a manager can then ask, “What can I do differently as a manager to get a different result with my team?”. The first question to ask yourself is “Have I clearly communicated what I expect from my team?”. Communicating clear expectations sounds simply and straight forward but I continue to be baffled by the number of managers who expect their people just to know what they want, without clearly communicating this to them.

Setting clear expectations and providing the right resources for your team could be the missing link to having your team achieve the objectives and goals that you’ve been driving for. Here are some tips on how set expectations for your people, in a way that they’ll understand be able to match.

TELL THEM UP FRONT WHAT YOU WANT.
Communicate precisely what you want, before your people start on a project or task. If you hear yourself saying, “Well it should be obvious”, this is the time to communicate your expectations clearly and specifically. You are more likely to get the end goal or result when and how you want it if you have given your people all the information up front.

GIVE PEOPLE A REASON WHY.
Conversations are too heavily weighted in the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of tasks. Increase employee motivation by including the ‘why’ into your setting expectations conversations. As humans we love to know the motive or purpose for doing something. Provide your people with the reasons why you need a task done, a project started, or a course correction made, and you’ll find their willingness to get started increase.

BE SPECIFIC AND CLEAR
Your people cannot read your mind. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to manager if they could. But they can’t, so best you be very clear and specific with what you’re asking from them. If you’re not clear what you want, then take the time to clarify your thoughts and requirements before talking to them.

CHECK IN WITH THEM ON WHAT THEY HEARD YOU SAY.
The challenge with communication is that we think that the other person heard what we said and took it in exactly the way we meant it. This is so often not the case. Ask people what they heard you say and what they believe you have asked from them. “Can I check in, what is it that you heard me say.” Or “Can I check what – ask clarification questions and check for understanding. Encourage an open and honest conversation.

GIVE A TIME FRAME FOR EACH EXPECTATION.
“By when?” is a powerful simple question that has the ability to clarify and focus the time frame of an expectation. I see many managers communicate what they want their people to do, while missing the critical part of when they would like it done by. And then they get annoyed that it isn’t done in time. Before you communicate an expectation to one of your team, make sure you know when you want it done by and then let them in on that information.

SET THEM UP WITH THE RIGHT RESOURCES.
Sometimes your people wont complete tasks because they don’t have the correct resources to make it happen. Be proactive with this by asking them “What resources do you need to be successful in this task?”. You wont know if they need anything, unless you ask.

Setting your people up for success will make your life easier as a manager. Give your people clear and specific expectations that include the reason why, the timeframe, the right resources and support required. When your people know what’s expected, they don’t waste time or energy worrying or going off track. Instead, they maximise their time and energy by working on the things that matter and getting you the results that you need.